My only real criteria for an enjoyable read is that a book must take me somewhere interesting—another country, another reality, another heart—and hold me there. Possibly even against my will.
Such was the case when I read In a Dark Wood Wandering, by Hella S. Haasse, which arrived unannounced in my mailbox one day, sent by a friend with no note or explanation. The story is set during the Hundred Years War, the main character is Charles, Duke of Orleans, and the story is history, so there are no real surprises. All the uncharted territory lies within the characters and the Dark Woods of life through which they stumble. And the story of how it came to be translated into English is hardly less compelling.